Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of the French army in a battle on that date – May 5 – in 1862. The holiday also happens to coincide with the start of the season for fresh tomatillos. Green Posole with Chicken, based on a tomatillo salsa, is the perfect dish for the occasion.

Tomatillos are small round fruits native to Mexico that indeed look like green tomatoes. But they are a completely different fruit and have a unique, somewhat lemony, taste all their own. They’re a key ingredient in Mexican green salsa. Peel off the papery husk, give them a rinse and they’re ready to go. Then combine all of the ingredients for this salsa in a food processor and pulse.

As for the posole, there are many types – red, green, white, chicken, beef, and pork – but what they all have in common is hominy. Hominy is a kind of starchy field corn that’s been dried and then treated by soaking and cooking it in a diluted solution of lye or slaked lime. It’s the hominy in posole that makes it so hearty.

The protein here comes in the form of shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken, which simplifies its preparation. No one’s going to care – and anyway, it’s the garnishes that make this dish special.

Green Posole with Chicken

Servings: 4

FOR THE SALSA:

8 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered (or cut into sixths, if large)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallion (white and light green part)

1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro, leaves and stems

1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped serrano (with the ribs and seeds)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

FOR THE POSOLE:

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cups chicken broth

3 1/2 to 4 cups shredded or cubed rotisserie chicken

One 30-ounce can hominy, rinsed and drained

Kosher salt

Shredded sharp cheddar, tortilla chips, lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish

MAKE THE SALSA: In a food processor combine all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is almost smooth with some small chunks in it.

MAKE THE POSOLE: In a large saucepan cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes. Add chicken, hominy and salt to taste; cook just until heated through. Ladle into bowls and serve with all the garnishes on the side.

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